Some more food I really enjoyed was cooked for Stefin and I on our plush houseboat cruise. If you don’t know about Kerala houseboats you should definitely spend a minute and google. They’re lovely.


Our lunch included these yummy green beans, redolent with coconut oil.


Aviyal, a classic mixed vegetable dish up front. And sauteed cabbage with lots of coconut in back.


Sambar, a spicy, hot, sour rich stew made from toor dal.



You can get a sense of what this kind of Kerala rice is like.



See how plump the grains are? It also comes in a ‘red’ variety which retains a bit of husk.



On the right is kaalan, another classic vegetarian dish, made from cucumbers in a perfectly balanced sour yogurt sauce.




And these fried Pearlspot fish, caught in the waters beneath our boat. Pearlspots are highly esteemed, and for a good reason–they’re terrific, with sweet, tender white flesh.



At teatime, we had friend bananas. I don’t especially like friend bananas, but that’s just me. These had a little cumin seed in the batter.



We bought a couple tiger prawns, as they are called locally, at lunchtime. These may be known elsewhere as scampi.

Dinner was served in the dark as the lights would attract too many bugs. Remember, we we’re afloat a tropical lake. So, the photos suffered a bit.



Made into this, roasted on skewers, salty, perfectly tender and very, very sweet. Worth the expense, for sure.


Dinner also included (clockwise from top) chicken curry, spicy fish curry, dal and sauteed okra. The okra here in Kerala, by the way, is superb.



Breakfast offered this beautiful appam and spicy egg curry. I wish I knew the names for some of these preparations, but Malayalam, Kerala’s tongue, is a bit daunting to me.

My hotel, the Fort House, had a beautiful garden full of lush vegetation, including orchids and a pond full of guppies. The food was pretty good, too.



This squid salad was served warm in a rich dressing of coconut. It included potatoes, carrots and tomatoes. A bit salty.



Likewise, this tuna in tomato sauce was oversalted and even somewhat sandy. Tuna is cheaper here than some other fish varieties, perhaps because tuna doesn’t always adapt well to being cooked well done.


The Fort House prepared excellent okra, full of fat, sweet garlic cloves. The dal, behind it, had plenty of crisp fried onions on top.



For dessert, spiced dried figs.


The hotel also made a terrific pineapple jam. So good it deserves a photo, even if it ended up on sweet, white toast.



I had this mutton biriyani at Rahamthulla Hotel. It was good and seemed to be a spot for serious, and even somber, dining.

Before leaving Cochin I grabbed this thali at Dwaraka, a vegetarian restaurant in downtown Ernakalum.